Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Bagoomba Training Method

If we were all perfect, life would be boring. No room for improvement, nothing to strive for, no challenges.

Yesterday I felt like crap in the afternoon, so I took a nap and woke up 3 hours later! I needed it. Dennis was on his way home, I took the girls for a short walk while I was waiting for him, and when he got here, I talked him into running with me. He rarely runs after work, but he's been talking about how he needs to. I agree, he does. He would feel better.

Plus, after he won that 5K in Arizona in January, he realized that running once a week, 10 miles of hills on Horsetooth, was enough to get him in shape to do that, so I suggested that he add one or two days of running each week, and he would probably see huge improvements.

We used to call Dennis "Bagoomba". Our friends Kirk and Keith used to go to races with us and we'd all sign up with goofy names. Kirk was Horace McGillicuddy, Keith and I were both Towanda, and Dennis was Bagoomba.

One year (1997) Dennis decided he was going to run the Leadville Trail 100. He had no ultra experience, and had only done one marathon. So he ran two ultras to get himself prepared. He ran a low-key 50K, and then a 50 miler, Collegiate Peaks, which he won in about 7 1/2 hours. To prepare for Leadville, I told him he would need to do long runs, not too frequently, but to get some time in on his feet. And those are some big feet (he wears size 14 or 15, depending on the shoe).

Dennis averaged about 30 miles a week of running the year he ran Leadville. He did a few "long runs", other than his two ultras, he did some runs at Horsetooth in the 25-30 mile range. Some weeks that was all he did.

At Leadville, he finished third overall in 20:59. He had some IT band problems during the race that slowed him down, and that injury persisted for a long time after Leadville. But Kirk and Keith and I attributed his amazing finish at Leadville to what we called "The Bagoomba Training Method". Run the bare minimum of mileage, and kick ass.

When we were first married, Dennis ran about a 29 minute 10K, and I ran about a 39 minute 10K. I used to run with him on his easy days and he would push me at my pace. At the end of the run I'd always see if I could outkick him in the last 200 meters or so. Of course he could have kicked my butt any time, but he ran harder just to give me enough of a challenge.

So we left the house yesterday evening and went for a 6 mile run on the Power Trail. Started out easy and gradually picked up the pace. We got away from doing that long ago, but last night felt like old times. I ran a lot faster than I would have by nyself. At the end of the run I picked it up once we turned onto our street, and kicked it in.

Today I went to the track after a 2 mile run with the girls. It's spring and there are so many things to sniff, it seems like our morning runs take forever. When I got to the track, I did 2 hours in lane 2, striding out for about 60-80 meters of each lap. It felt good. I kept a steady but easy pace, and just used the run as practice on the track curves, which I'll need for Iowa, which is only (gulp) 7 weeks away! How did that happen?

I haven't been doing much mileage at all, and I don't plan to train very hard until this summer. I want to run the Double Mick as a long training week, and I have one goal at Iowa, to run at least 100 miles in 24 hours. I'm trying to stick to the minimum I can get away with, focus on the quality runs and not worry about the mileage. It seems to be working so far.

Plus I am thrilled that I've lost 5 pounds since January, down to 125. Having my thyroid medication right made a big difference, too. I'd love to lose at least another 5, but I think I'm on track to do that. I still can't believe I'm carrying around that much weight on this short little body, but as long as I can run well, it really doesn't matter.

The Bagoomba Training Method. It works!


SteveQ said...

29 minute 10K?! Sub-21 Leadville?! These are some talented runners!

I tell runners to get the most of doing little training and a lot of racing early in their careers and then build up mileage when that stops working. Some people can do quite well with next to no training - I knew a guy who jumped into a 10K on the spur of the moment because it started at his house; he hadn't run for two years, but ran 30 or 31 minutes for the win (he'd been a state high school record-holder). The more natural talent you have, the better that works, though.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Dennis ran for the Reebok International team for 9 years, went to the World X-C championships for the U.S., national champion in steeplechase in college, etc. Yes he has a lot of talent. But at the time he did Leadville, he hadn't been training or competing for several years. And he hasn't been running much at all for about the past 10 years. He struggles, too. He gets frustrated with himself, but that doesn't last long. He now runs slower times than I used to run, I would have chicked him! The only chance I'd ever get...